World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report is out

The Lempert Report
January 14, 2019

The news is not good.

The Living Planet Index shows an average decline of 60% in population sizes of vertebrate species between 1970 and 2014. They point to the food system as the dominant cause, along with overexploitation of our resources.

The food system is Earth’s biggest user of land, taking up 34% of the planet. The production of crops such as sugar cane, soybean and palm oil has led directly to the clearing of 40% of the world’s once-forested land. The food system also uses 69% of all freshwater. The food system is also the single biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, producing around 25%.

Our food footprint grows, while we waste a third of all foods we produce. It is lost on farms and in the supply chain, or simply thrown away. 

WWF says we have the opportunity to transform our food system. We can evolve to a new way of producing, consuming and valuing food: what they are calling, Food 2.0.

The focus must be on nutritious, fresh and local produce. Eating within national dietary guidelines is a largely achievable goal. It’s not only better for people, but also likely better for the planet.

We must also allow nothing to go to waste. That means shopping, cooking and serving more smartly.  

Looking at our food system from “planet to plate” calls for improving technical approaches at the farm level. By managing existing farmland better, we can restore soil quality, optimize productivity and bring disused land back into production.  

We must make the changes that get us back to where the food system nourishes us all – people and planet according to WWF. If we don’t transform the system, we won’t be able to feed everyone, and they say - we may not have a planet.